Friuli Venezia Giulia

Winery Castellargo

Friuli Venezia Giulia

Grave del Friuli RUBEUS

Grave del Friuli RUBEUS Grave del Friuli RUBEUS
Grave del Friuli DOC RUBEUS
40% Refosco - 30% Cabernet Sauvugnon - 30% Cabernet franc
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Treppo Grande (Udine)
“Grave” = means hard because the land is very stony
Residual sugar:


Deep ruby red with violet highlights
Intense, with aromas of cherries, plums green bell peppers and fresh cracked black pepper.
Ripe, rich and full-bodied with spices and light toasty oak, turning even more complex and polished on the finish


 Northern Italian red wines have reputations in the U.S. based almost entirely upon where they are made.  Even the worse wines from Piemonte are widely considered to be very good, and even the best red wines from Friuli are considered to be close to worthless.  This is partially because of the press, which has historically favored full bodied red wines layered with all kinds of textures and flavors, even if these wines are not particularly graceful or balanced, but also because of the consumer, which naturally assumes that denser wines are intrinsically superior.  Friulian reds suffer from three maladies; 1) Friuli is the most highly regarded white wine region of Italy and the reds are naturally overlooked, 2) they are often green, herbaceous, and relatively thin, and 3) No defining red wine style has emerged as a consensus "Friulian classic".  

It shouldn't surprise to learn that these three issues are related.  Friulian winemakers have historically worked with inferior clones of international varietals, such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cab Sauvignon, which result in overly green aromas, and have added insult to injury by often overcropping, and since red wine has historically been considered a "carafe wine" in this region (Tocai was its white counterpart), the locals didn't have cause to ask for anything better.  The native red grapes, refosco and schioppettino principally, were rarely respected in the vineyards or the cellar. Red wine was supposed to be fresh and simple - period.

Rubeus, though clearly relying on some aromas and flavors from the vegetable side of the flavor wheel, manages to avoid the Friulian Curse.  Though there is some bell pepper up front, there is also considerable fruit flavor and concentration carrying the wine forward, and any open minded taster should agree that this wine bears scrutiny.  

Since Rubeus to a great extent breaks the mold, Italian restaurants may be the last customers to discover this fascinating red.  It will be a hit at progressive retailers, as well as restaurants with truly multi-regional approaches which are interested in wines which will marry with food rather than dominate it.  In particular, Rubeus is a great choice for spicy dishes, even hot spicy, since it is abundantly fruity and is not tannic.  The reds from Piemonte will wither in the face of a spicy curry.

Those not intrigued by the vagaries of Friulian culture will recognize Rubeus as similar to many of the reds of, you guessed it, the Loire Valley, such as Chinon.  Funny how those wines have had a surge in popularity lately isn't it?